"The Brief" - The ALA Blog

  • February 13, 2018 1:10 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    The Illinois Appellate Court, First District, recently amended Local Rule 39.


    Effective March 1, 2018, in addition to the requirement of electronically filed briefs, which will be considered the official original filed with the court, the First District will require six duplicate paper copies of briefs and any appendices to be filed with the court’s electronic file stamp within five days of the documents' e-filing acceptance date.


    To see these local rules, please click here


    To see these local rules, please click here


  • January 25, 2018 12:25 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Josh Wolff

    Law Clerk to Hon. Eileen O'Neill Burke, Illinois Appellate Court, First District

    The Illinois Appellate Court, Second District, recently amended Local Rule 101. Now, the Second District requires five hard copies of briefs be filed with the Clerk of the Court within five days of the briefs’ e-filing acceptance date.


    Rule 101(c) now reads:


    “Where a party files a brief electronically, the electronically filed brief shall be considered the official original. The party shall provide the Clerk’s Office with five duplicate paper copies, which shall be received in the Clerk’s Office within five days of the electronic notification generated upon acceptance of the electronically filed brief. Each paper copy shall be a printed version of the electronically filed brief, bearing the Clerk’s electronic file stamp, and shall be printed one-sided and securely bound on the left side in a manner that does not obstruct the text. The paper copies shall comply with all applicable Supreme Court Rules, including the color-cover requirement in Supreme Court Rule 341. A party shall not provide paper copies of any other materials filed electronically.”


    The Second District also amended Rule 103 regarding motions for extensions of time, specifically adding subsection (a)(4) concerning information that must be provided in cases that might become moot pending the appeal. Now, the party requesting an extension must include “[i]n a criminal case, the status of the defendant’s sentence (where applicable), or, in any case that would become moot due to the passage of time on appeal, the date on which the appeal would become moot.”


    To see these local rules, please click here


  • January 24, 2018 12:39 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On February 9, the ALA along with the Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of Chicago will host “Neutral Umpires and Honest Black Robes: What Is, and Is Not, Said at Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings,” featuring Professor Carolyn Shapiro, the former Illinois Solicitor General.


    Professor Shapiro teaches at Chicago-Kent College of Law, where she founded and acts as co-director of its Institute on the Supreme Court of the United States. At the event, Professor Shapiro will discuss how senators and nominees to the Supreme Court have described the role of the Court and its justices during confirmation hearings.


    The event will begin at noon and run until 1:30 p.m. at the Union League Club of Chicago, 65 West Jackson Boulevard. The Union League Club enforces a dress code, which can be found here.


    Attendees will receive one hour of MCLE credit.


    For more information about the event and to register, please click here


  • January 22, 2018 12:33 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The ALA regrets to inform you that former Appellate Court Justice William Cousins passed away on Saturday, January 20, 2018, at the age of 90.


    Justice Cousins had an illustrious career, which included graduating from Harvard Law School, serving in combat in the Korean War, and working as a prosecutor and in private practice. Later in his career, he was elected as a Chicago alderman and a judge in the circuit court of Cook County, and eventually became a justice of the Illinois Appellate Court.


    For more about Justice Cousins’ life, please click here.


  • January 10, 2018 12:25 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Kevin R. Malloy
    Partner, Forde Law Offices LLP

    In Vines v. Village of Flossmoor, 2017 IL App (1st) 163339, the First District reconsidered its granting of a Rule 303(d) motion for leave to amend a notice of appeal, and dismissed an appeal as untimely. In the case, a fourteen year old boy was injured when a metal grate outside the Flossmoor Library gave way, and his parents sued the Village of Flossmoor and the Flossmoor Library. The trial court granted summary judgment to the Village and the Library. The notice of appeal was due December 14, 2016, but the plaintiffs did not file until December 21.


    Under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 303(d), the plaintiffs then had within 30 days after the time for expiration of the time to file the notice of appeal, or until January 13, 2017, to file a motion for leave to appeal. No Rule 303(d) motion was filed by that date. After the 30 days expired, the Library moved to dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction, and the plaintiffs then filed a “Motion to Amend” the December 21, 2016 notice of appeal. A panel of the First District (other than the panel that issued the opinion) denied the Library’s motion to dismiss and granted the plaintiffs’ motion to amend the late-filed notice of appeal.


    In its opinion, the appellate court reversed its grant of the motion to amend. In doing so, the court first noted its independent duty to review its jurisdiction and that the filing of a timely notice of appeal is both mandatory and jurisdictional. In reversing its prior decision to grant the Rule 303(d) motion, the appellate court noted that, under the plain language of the rule, the requested amendment fell outside the 30-day grace period for civil appeals. The court remarked that “[i]f litigation is to have some finality, acts must be accomplished within the time prescribed by law.” Vines, 2017 IL App (1st) 163339, ¶ 11 (quoting Gaynor v. Walsh, 219 Ill. App. 3d 996, 1004 (2d Dist. 1991)).


    The court noted a split of authority as to whether a Rule 303(d) motion must be filed simultaneously with the notice of appeal to confer jurisdiction. The Vines court agreed with LaGrange Memorial Hospital v. St. Paul Ins. Co., 317 Ill. App. 3d 863, 865 (1st Dist. 2000), that the filing of the motion and the notice of appeal separately was not fatal, noting that the authority granted under the rule should be liberally exercised as long as the Rule 303(d) motion is filed within the additional 30 days. In Vines, however, the Rule 303(d) motion was not timely filed.


    The plaintiffs urged the court at oral argument to extend the holding of People v. Brown, 54 Ill. 2d 25 (1973), to avoid unduly emphasizing “formality” over “substance.” The appellate court rejected the plaintiffs’ argument. In Brown, the supreme court reversed the appellate court’s dismissal of an appeal where the defendant filed a pro se notice of appeal seven weeks after pleading guilty and being sentenced, but where the trial court did not advise him about the time requirements for a notice of appeal. Brown was inapposite, according to the appellate court, as there is no corresponding obligation on the part of a trial court in a civil suit to admonish parties as to the time limits of the notice of appeal.


    While the appellate court noted it was sensitive to the injuries suffered by the boy, the plaintiffs missed the deadline for filing a Rule 303(d) motion, and thus did not meet the mandatory requirement for appellate jurisdiction. Given that “[f]airness, efficiency, and predictability require that there be strict deadlines for our jurisdiction in civil cases,” the court dismissed the appeal. Vines, 2017 IL App (1st) 163339, ¶ 18.


  • January 05, 2018 2:59 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On January 18 and 25, the ALA will host its annual Illinois Supreme Court Criminal Cases Year in Review, featuring a panel discussion about the most significant criminal cases decided by the Illinois Supreme Court in 2017.


    There will be two events, one in Chicago, co-sponsored by the Asian American Bar Association (January 18) and one in Wheaton, co-sponsored by the DuPage County Bar Association (January 25). Both events will feature retired Illinois Appellate Court Justice James Epstein and current Illinois Appellate Court Justice Joseph Birkett, as well as Leah Bendik, Illinois Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Appeals Division and Patrick Cassidy, Supervisor, Office of the State Appellate Defender. ALA Secretary Gretchen Harris Sperry will moderate the discussion.


    The Chicago event will be held on Thursday, January 18, from noon to 1:45 p.m., at Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, 222 North LaSalle St., Suite 300.


    The Wheaton event will be held on Thursday, January 25, from noon to 1:45 p.m., at the Attorney Resource Center, 505 North County Farm Road, 3rd Floor.


    Attendees should bring their own lunches and will receive 1.5 hours of MCLE credit.


    For more information about any of the events and to register, please click here.


  • January 03, 2018 12:41 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Cases Pending, co-chaired by Gretchen Harris Sperry (left) and Catherine Basque Weiler, has been updated to discuss the Illinois Supreme Court's January Term, which begins Monday, January 8, 2018, with oral arguments scheduled for January 9-11, 2018. A total of 6 cases will be heard – 5 criminal and 1 civil.  The following cases are scheduled for argument this Term:


    People v. Ricardo Vara, No. 121823: January 9


    People v. Marc Pepitone, No. 122034: January 9


    People v. Theophil Encalado, No. 122059: January 9


    People v. Arthur Manning, No. 122081: January 10


    People ex rel. Berlin v. Hon. Bakalis, No. 122435: January 10


    Thounsavath v. State Farm Automobile Insurance Co., No. 122558: January 11


    Below is a summary for one criminal case, People v. Theophil Encalado and one civil case, Thounsavath v. State Farm Automobile Insurance Co. Summaries for these cases and others pending with the Illinois Supreme Court can be found in our Cases Pendingpublication, accessible to ALA members on the ALA's website.


    People v. Theophil Encalado


    Defendant was convicted of three counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault.  The victim, Y.C., alleged that at 6 a.m. one morning, defendant lured her into his car while she was walking to a bakery, drove her into an alley, and sexually assaulted her.  C.C. alleged that over three years earlier, defendant had also forcibly raped her, luring her into his car while she was walking from a nearby club.  DNA recovered from both victims matched defendant.  Defendant's defense was that both Y.C. and C.C. were prostitutes who had consented to sex in exchange for money and drugs after he had picked them up and asked for "a date."  Prior to the commencement of voir dire, defense counsel requested the court question prospective jurors: "you will hear evidence about prostitution.  Would that fact alone prevent you from being fair to either side?"  The trial court declined to ask the question, and the appellate court reversed, finding this ruling an abuse of discretion.


    While the purpose of voir dire is to empanel an impartial jury free from bias or prejudice, it cannot be used to indoctrinate jurors.  In People v. Strain, the Illinois Supreme Court held that defendants are entitled to expose juror predisposition toward, and bias against, gangs.  Before the Illinois Supreme Court, the State argues that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in rejecting voir dire on prostitution because there was no need to depart from the general rule against allowing voir dire to preview particular evidence and potentially indoctrinate jurors.  Prostitution is not a topic that rises to the level of such intense controversy; the gang issue addressed in Strain is essentially sui generis.  In the alternative, the State argues that any error was harmless given overwhelming evidence of Encalado's guilt.  In response, Encalado asserts that the proposed question was phrased neutrally and potentially benefited the State as well given that under Encalado's version of events, State's witnesses were prostitutes.  An amicus brief filed on behalf of John Marshall Law School's Pro Bono Program and Clinic asserts that: (1) the appellate court's holding would discourage sexual assault victims, whether prostitutes or not, from coming forward in that such voir dire questioning allows defendants to insinuate that victims were prostitutes, circumventing the rape shield statute's general bar on admission of evidence about a victim's sexual history (or past work as a prostitute); and (2) bias against prostitutes is stronger than bias against patrons of prostitutes.


    Thounsavath v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.


    This issue in this case is whether a driver exclusion endorsement in an automobile policy barring coverage for the named insured violates Illinois law and public policy.


    Plaintiff was insured by Defendant State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company. Her policy specifically provided that State Farm would have no liability for losses incurred “while any motor vehicle is operated by: Clinton M. Evans.” Plaintiff was subsequently involved in an automobile accident while traveling as a passenger in a vehicle which was owned and operated by Mr. Evans. She thereupon filed a claim with State Farm, which denied coverage. Plaintiff filed a declaratory judgment action and on cross-motions for summary judgment, the circuit court granted Plaintiff’s motion.


    On appeal, the First District Appellate Court affirmed. The appellate court noted that several cases have upheld the validity of named driver exclusions, but distinguished them on the basis that those exclusions were enforced as to parties other than the named insured. In reaching its decision, the Court relied on American Access Casualty Co. v. Reyes, 2013 IL 115601, which held that under section 7-317(b)(2) of the Financial Responsibility Law (625 ILCS 5/7-317(b)(2), which mandates insurance coverage, a named insured could not be excluded from coverage under a named driver exclusion provision in an insurance policy.


    In its petition for leave to appeal, State Farm argues that the appellate court misapplied Reyes, and departed from other authority suggesting the validity of named driver exclusions in Illinois.


  • January 02, 2018 12:19 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Justice Steigmann, of the Illinois Appellate Court, Fourth District, is seeking a judicial law clerk for his chambers located in Urbana, beginning February 15, 2018.


    The law clerk will perform legal research, analysis, and writing and will review and assist in the drafting of judicial opinions, orders, and other legal documents. Qualified applicants must be graduates of an accredited law school, possess excellent academic credentials, and be members in good standing of the bar. The successful candidate will possess exceptional legal research and writing skills, excellent organizational and analytical abilities, and strong communication, decision-making, and interpersonal skills.


    Preferred qualifications include an affinity for cats, as two cats call Justice Steigmann's chambers home, a pleasant demeanor, and a strong sense of humor. 



  • December 22, 2017 7:53 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Justice Schmidt's funeral will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, December 28, 2017 at Kirlin-Egan & Butler Funeral Home, 900 S. 6th St., Springfield. Burial will follow at Old Salem Cemetery.


    There will be a visitation from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 27, 2017 at St. Agnes Church, 245 N. Amos Ave., Springfield.


    Memorial contributions may be made to: Sacred Heart-Griffin Band Program, 1200 W. Washington, Springfield, IL 62702; St. Agnes Memorial Scholarship and Tuition Fund, 251 N. Amos, Springfield, IL 62702; or the Springfield Parks Foundation, 2500 S. 11th, Springfield, IL 62703.


    For Justice Schmidt's obituary, please follow the link.


  • December 19, 2017 11:56 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    The ALA regrets to inform you that Appellate Court Justice John Schmidt passed away Tuesday morning, December 19, 2017. 


    Please click here for more information. 


DISCLAIMER: The Appellate Lawyers Association does not provide legal services or legal advice. Discussions of legal principles and authority, including, but not limited to, constitutional provisions, statutes, legislative enactments, court rules, case law, and common-law doctrines are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice.

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